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  1.  
    So Wire are back agin in Oz for the third time (not sure they would bother after the faint angst about recent Australian adventures in "Read and Burn".

    I'll be going to Brisbane and Sydney so will try to report back here!

    FYI some recent Sydney street press guff (from "The Music" mag) follows:

    Back To The Future
    Legendary punk outfit Wire recently revisited the songs they’d left behind when it all came crashing down in the mid-‘70s. Founding members Colin Newman and Graham Lewis tell Steve Bell that it’s all about “subverting the process”.
    UK art-punks Wire have always been renowned for marching to the beat of their own drum, having been steadfastly doing things their own way since starting out in London back in the heady days of 1976. Hence it’s no real surprise that their latest album, Change Becomes Us, is based predominantly on ideas that had been lying dormant for over three decades.
    When the band’s original incarnation combusted in 1980 after three albums they left behind a swag of material that had been introduced to their live sets but not yet committed to tape, and even though they’ve been an active concern for much of the intervening period – Change Becomes Us represents their 13th studio effort – they’d never returned to those left behind songs until recently, when they decided to revisit them with fresh eyes and ears.
    “It was a project actually; it wasn’t necessarily about the material per se, it was more a matter of timing,” explains vocalist/guitarist Colin Newman. “When we did Red Bark Tree – which came out in early 2011 – we did a lot of touring for that, and during that time we were working Matthew Simms into the band, who’d joined us in 2010. We felt by the end of all that touring that we’d got pretty good as a unit, and it would be a pity not to take that energy somewhere. Meanwhile there wasn’t really any new material because we’d been on the road, and writing wasn’t the first thing that anyone was thinking about. This idea had been around for a while – there was a bunch of material post-[1979 third album]154 that didn’t go anywhere really in terms of being recorded simply because the band dissolved. It’s fairly well documented that the band physically fell apart, so there was no band to make the record. Some of that material was really good, and what was absurd about that situation was that musically the band was still very interesting, but socially it was fucked so it was a weird period that the music came from.
    “The idea to revisit it had been discussed at various times before, usually in terms of us playing live – a few years ago we had a typical Wire-esque idea of doing a Don’t Look Back-type show of an album that hadn’t been released, in fact had never been recorded, and no one else knew what was on it. Surprisingly there weren’t any takers, so then it occurred to us that maybe we should record it; not like, ‘Let’s record it like we’re going back in a time machine’, but more along the lines of, ‘Here’s a bunch of new material, let’s see what we can do with it’. And of course as soon as the band touched the material it ceased to have anything to do with the past – it was all about the now. It’s always about the now.”
    Nonetheless it proved a slightly surreal experience revisiting their original ideas and creations after all this time, but one that the band ultimately enjoyed immensely.
    “For me it’s always been annoying that we had all of those starts – and in some cases very, very primitive sketches – of potential songs,” reflects bassist/vocalist Graham Lewis, “but it was purely because of circumstances that [revising them] became the right thing to do. We needed some material to work on after 2011 because we’d toured extensively and Matt Simms was very much integrated into the group, and the new version of the band had its own sound – which is always what you’re looking for – and when we were playing the then-new material things were developing and hopefully going forward because the material doesn’t stay in one place, you’re not just trying to emulate it.
  2.  
    and the last para from above:

    “So when we went to the pieces with some it was obvious we were going to be able to do something with them, but there were several things where it was really like shots in the dark – perhaps there was a riff which we thought was okay, or a small piece of text or lyrics which we figured might work. Then over the process, with Colin chopping things up and gradually mixing, it became evident what was missing or what needed strengthening, and in terms of lyrics and text there were things that had to be completely rewritten from scratch because they just didn’t stand up. I don’t suppose many people get the opportunity to do something like this – I’m not sure that I’d like to do it again though! And I don’t think it’s possible.”
    “Ultimately they become new things so at the end of the day it’s a bit of a con – anyone who’s expecting to get the missing fourth album is going to be disappointed,” Newman smiles. “You just physically can’t go back in time.
  3.  
    Took a trip up to Brisbane for the Wire gig on Wednesday.
    Venue was the Zoo and upstairs room in the sleazier part of Fortitude Valley in inner Brisbane. It’s a pretty basic club with a few barrels scattered around with stools and a lowish stage.

    Supports were two local acts. First was “Multiple Man” (apparently two brothers) who did some sub-John Fox noodling on synthesisers, and “Per Purpose” who were a bit of an odd one. Billed as an “inventive rock quartet ” they struck me as a cross between Gang of Four (very clipped guitar sound), and early Virgin Prunes (shouted intense vocals without much tune). Nothing wrong with that; and given the Colin Newman connection to the VP’s (produced their second album) an intriguing cross reference. I’m not sure how many of the maybe 180 (at a guess) people would get the connection!!

    Wire setlist same as reported for Lexington –
    Marooned
    23 Years Too Late
    Drill
    Doubles & Trebles
    Blogging
    Magic Bullet
    Smash
    Adore Your Island
    As We Go
    Please Take
    Another the Letter
    Map Ref
    Swallow
    Nocturnal Koreans
    Stealth of a Stork
    Attractive Space
    Harpooned

    Comet
    Spent

    A strong show, but a subdued audience response I thought. When I saw the order of ecvents I was initially disappointed that there was no Pink Flag, or its successor Red Barked Trees for the big guitar slash and burn finish, BUT Harpooned has stood as a worthy replacement with a frenetic groove for 8 minutes or so dissolving into a fracturing finish with Matt working alchemy with his extensive switches, buttons pedals and knobs collection, and Colin adding a keyboard drone through an iPad keyboard. A big big finish.

    A fast (of course) Comet, then Spent, to end including an extended feedback noise piece that even Bruce Gilbert might have been happy with.
  4.  
    Flew back to Sydney for the following night for a similar great show same songs except
    Drill second, and 23 Years Too Late, third. It was at the “Oxford Art Factory” a quite small basement venue in the gay Oxford Street stronghold. A bigger crowd- maybe 250? Promotion was quite weak, so it was a rather young crowd really. (I guess the few old blokes like me who know of Wire in Australia would only find out the gig by accident)

    Crowd reaction was better than Brisbane- pretty enthusiastic, and unlike previous Sydney visits there wasn’t much tedious shouting of requests- perhaps the message is getting through!

    Supports were local again “Raw Prawn” (pretty standard 1980 third tier English punk style) and Housewives who are supposedly “a crazed and haggard savaging of what has come before” however I was a bit disappointed they appeared to be an under-rehearsed third rate Joy Division on a bad night.

    Wire in Melbourn Friday night, but not me this time.

    Phillip
  5.  
    thanks for your ozwire reports Philip; interesting to hear what they are playing and how they are received over there and who are supporting them
  6.  
    They are in Perth next Monday (24th) as part of the annual Festival - http://2014.perthfestival.com.au/Whats-on-by-Genre/Contemporary-Music/Wire
    An outdoor concert in the Art Gallery precinct area.
    Taking my son, a reciprocal arrangement having just seen Em' thats muthafuckin Eminem in Melbourne! Although Action Bronson was a hoot, er...sick ;)
  7.  
    Many thanks for last nights performance in Perth, sublime...just...sublime!
    Although I didn't request it, I echo my fellow audience members request for 'A touching Display' for future live performance consideration by your good selves ;)

    Perth Chevron Gardens setlist:
    Marooned
    Drill
    23 Years Too Late
    Doubles & Trebles
    Blogging Like Jesus
    Magic Bullet
    Smash
    Adore Your Island
    As We Go
    Please Take
    Another The Letter
    Map Ref 41N 93°W
    Swallow
    Advantage in Height
    Stealth of a Stork
    Attractive Space
    Harpooned
    Encore:
    Boiling Boy
    Comet
    Spent

    Letter:
    http://youtu.be/vGrqdg9aJgo

    Perth RTR Radio Interview:
    http://rtrfm.com.au/story/wire-on-the-wireless/
  8.  
    I was at the Brisbane show. I was one of those subdued audience members. That was the first opportunity I've had to see Wire live, and it was worth the wait: incredible show. My girlfriend bought me an after the show and we discovered a message on the back of the piece of card with the price on it. From who? I can't be sure.

    'Our Swimmer', 'On Returning', or 'Go Ahead'. Fortunately they played my favorite, 'Something I Haven't Heard Before'.
  9.  
    I was at Perth, I've seen Wire a few times previously and thought this was the most enjoyable. The venue was quite big being an outdoor tenty-type affair. And they had lots of lights - I've never seen the band with quite so many. A few hundred people there, I've always found audiences in perth to be fairly subdued, and tonight was no exception apart from a few staunch types down the front. Quite a few women dancing around too - why is it that women have no probelm dancing , but blokes have to have either a few drinks onboard or wait until everyone else is doing it before joining in??

    The sound was good - the mellower and sparser numbers came over better, as the more thrashy ones got drowned a bit in the wall of noise. I didn't enjoy Harpooned for that reason I'm afraid - I was thinking of the Bruce Gilbert era during it and realised I prefer this model Wire!

    Anyway - thanks for coming to Perth again after a short time. I took a mate along who is now a convert too.